Runesu Gwidi Masvingo Correspondent
Government has engaged communities in Mutirikwi Sub-Catchment area to embark on a gully reclamation exercise to curb rampant siltation that now threatens Zimbabwe’s second largest inland dam.
Besides Lake Mutirikwi, other small dams dotted around the sub-catchment are also under serious threat from siltation in a development that has set off alarm bells within Government.
Mutirikwi Sub-Catchment Council Water Resources officer Mr Israel Tavengwa said there was urgent need for gully reclamation to stem a multiplicity of environmental challenges facing the province.
Mr Tavengwa said construction of sand cages and filling up of gullies has significantly helped to stem siltation in the sub-catchment.
“Proliferation of gullies has several notable sinister effects such as siltation of inland dams and rivers, reduction of grazing land among other challenges,” he said.
“We have also engaged chiefs and headmen to raise awareness among communities in the sub-catchment area about the importance of gully reclamation to contain the scourge of siltation.”
Mr Tavengwa cited indiscriminate cutting down of trees, illegal gold mining activities, illegal sand extractors and stream bank cultivation as some of the major drivers of proliferation of gullies.
“Mutirikwi Sub-Catchment Council is working with communities round the clock to fill up some of the eroded areas and transform them into nutritional gardens and community orchards.”
Lake Mutirikwi, which is Masvingo city’s sole water source, has been severely choked by runaway siltation blamed on population pressure sparked by illegal settlements in the reservoir’s catchment area.
The dam’s survival is also key for the Lowveld sugar cane industry, which relies on Lake Mutirikwi water for irrigation.